Tirana, Albania – May 07 (Tirana Echo) – Gulf Oil International Group has lashed out at its Albanian representative Sun Petroleum after a fraud scheme leaves hundreds of customers with invalid pre-paid gas coupons and with no guarantees to get their money back.
Albanian prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the company’s local managing team while the scheme has exposed further links to Georgian oligarchs involved in money laundering in Albania.
However, according to media reports in Albania, Gulf Oil International Group may have terminated their contract with Sun Petroleum Albania shpk on the grounds that Sun Petroleum Albania had failed to pay the license fees in accordance with the contract.
“This is obviously a regrettable situation and it is important to understand that Sun Petroleum Albania shpk is an independent third-party company, to whom Gulf had granted a license to operate service stations under the Gulf brand. We are given to understand that the company had allegedly sold a substantial number of pre-paid fuel coupons that customers cannot now redeem. This in itself is not an action that had in any way been pre-approved by Gulf Oil International.”, Frank Rutten, Vice President International of Gulf Oil International said, according to local TV Top Channel.
Despite the reports, there is yet no official statement on the company’s website.
Albania’s Prosecution Office has issued an arrest warrant for Sun Petroleum manager Albano Aliko while investigating a fraud scheme which has left hundreds of Albanian customers with invalid pre-paid gas coupons. Some companies have reportedly purchased over 3000 liters of gas and have been left with worthless vouchers in their possession.
The scheme is thought to be initiated by Aliko and his Georgian partner, through which prosecutors believe the pair made more than €1,5 million.
Gulf started its activity in Albania in September 2013, with the creation of Sun Petroleum. Six months later in February 2014 the company was bought by the Offshore company “Universal Energy Group”.
Albania is under pressure by the European Union and the United States to clean up its massive corruption and money laundering activities as the small Balkan country bids to join the EU.
The European Council is expected to decide on opening accession talks with the country during its June meeting in Brussels.
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